Alistair & Rachel have been Christian development missionaries in Niger, Egypt, Jordan and the Holy Land over a period of 15 years since 1995.
They are volunteer trustees and field officers with Christians Abroad, a mission organisation that is a member of the Evangelical Alliance. Christians Abroad (CA) has been around in one form or another since the 1950s. Please see www.cabroad.org.uk, ‘About Us’ page for more on the history of the mission.
The mission’s maxim is to share skills and promote community both at home in UK and overseas by working with local Church and Christian organisations. Currently, CA focus on four countries: Holy Land, Jordan, Kenya and Nepal.
Alistair and Rachel are field officers for the Holy Land and Jordan after pioneering work out there since 2012.
In Jordan, they have worked with local young adults to form a young adult local association registered with the Jordanian ministry of social development, which aims to promote eco-tourism and adventure activities. For an overview, please see www.shababsahra.com.
Through that local association, they have established a strong relationship with St Pauls, the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem in Amman and another local Church to carry out young adult Christian refugee respite camps. A focus of these camps is to help Christians and Muslims to respect and understand each other as neighbours. It is also about helping to instil hope for the future since the refugees are having to start out afresh.
Alistair and Rachel also encouraged a Church of Scotland twinning programme between Strath & Sleat Parish Church, Skye, and St Paul’s, Amman, to help to facilitate these camps and to help these Churches to engage with each other. This twinning is now up and running since 2019.
In the Holy Land, in 2019 they finished a year long pilot project, which took a while to network and plan. This project brings together Christian young adults from a Nazareth Messianic Church, the Nazareth Israeli Arab Church and a Palestinian Church in Bethlehem, in experiential outdoor multi-activity days – a moving classroom in among some of the most beautiful Galilean scenery using mountain bikes, single pitch abseiling/climbing, kayaking and trekking.
Each activity day has ‘God spots’, where young adult leaders from each Church take a turn to lead the gathered group (max of 15 at a time) on agreed themes of Church unity, Church equality (there is no hierarchy in Jesus’ Kingdom) and outreach. This project was well received and they are looking forward to continuing the work. They have had great support from the Church of Scotland’s Parish of Jerusalem in Tiberias and in Jerusalem, which has been greatly appreciated. Alistair writes, ‘We have also been facilitated informally by the Nazareth Trust hospital with networking and cross-cultural spiritual oversight.’
In addition to the above, they also help to: oversee the mission’s field officer for Nepal and two field officers for Kenya; process Christians Abroad volunteers to their placements; and manage Christians Abroad’s Banner travel insurance group policy, which provides travel insurance for many Christian workers from a number of missions and Churches. All premiums received from travel insurance sales goes to support the mission’s running costs.
Alistair is also halfway through a Bachelor in Theology with Greek and Hebrew at the Edinburgh Theological College to add to his qualifications as a chartered surveyor and two post-graduate degrees in agricultural development and environmental economics. He is also a qualified outdoor pursuits instructor with reasonable Arabic. Rachel is MA English Literature & Language, with a CELTA teaching qualification. She also enjoys art and crafts and children’s work. They have 3 grown up children, one is married and recently they became Grandparents for the first time! Alistair is 52, Rachel 48. They attend Kirkcaldy Free Church of Scotland.